Pemberton & Whistler: The Art of Moving Slow

Once again we decided to do the Slow Food Cycle Sunday in Pemberton. Our last time was three years ago, and this time Neil joined us, which made the ride even slower, which I didn’t think was possible after last time. We also didn’t exactly start early. We only left Vancouver at around 9am, and made it to Pemberton around lunch time. It actually made more sense because by the time we got there we were ready to eat. It didn’t take long to get the bikes and trailer set up and we started riding from our car, Neil on his balance bike.

Slow Food, Slow ride…

We had a lot of good things to eat, like vegetarian empanadas, a pulled pork sandwich, fresh tomatoes and blueberries and even a drink of Kombucha, whatever it is. Neil slept for a bit in the trailer and we both got some well needed naps (in turns!) on the very inviting green lawn – in Vancouver most lawns turned yellow a good few weeks ago. Neil enjoyed climbing tractors and pretending he’s driving like a real farmer boy.

Enjoying local blueberries

and tractors

It was neat to see the road closed to vehicles other than bikes, but due to our naps we actually got back to Pembeton after the road had opened again. There was very little traffic though, so it wasn’t a problem. 

The cycling wasn’t too bad either

Once back in ‘town’ Neil and I went to the park in the elementary school so he could burn off some more energy and Gili went to bring the car over. Then we drove to Owl Creek, a favourite recreational site we know in that area.

A road just for cyclists! (and their dogs)

As one of the advantages of taking Sunday-Monday off, we arrived to an almost deserted campground. We found a nice spot by the river and pitched the tent and Neil was happy to do his regular river rock throwing routine. As well as playing with the stove, his favourite thing in the world (after biking and skiing maybe). 

A playground with a view, Pemberton

The night was very peaceful. Gili had been working hard for the past couple of months and was just finishing off a big project so he probably needed the rest more than anyone and indeed he slept like a log. Neil had a good night too without waking up even once.

At Owl Creek campground

That morning, as many people were getting ready to see the eclipse we made our way back to Pemberton. We stopped at the tourist information and with a homemade cereal box eclipse viewer belonging to a family from Calgary we managed to see the (partial) eclipse. We also put together a couple of polarized sunglasses so we could take a quick direct peek every now and then. After that excitement we went to the local bakery, got some bread for lunch and had a delicious danish. Sitting outside, enjoying our pastries, it really did feel like a vacation.

Riding the trail to Alta Lake, Whistler

From there we drove to Whistler and Neil fell asleep while we listened to a program on CBC. It turned out that it wasn’t only the day of the eclipse it was also the 30th anniversary of the movie Dirty Dancing! There was a surprisingly interesting program on the radio with all sorts of facts about the movie and the soundtrack. It hit me with such a big wave of nostalgia – yes, like many other teenage girls in the 90’s, I watched Dirty Dancing more than once. So a few days later Gili and I actually watched the movie together and he had to admit it was pretty darn good. 

Neil sometimes took the more challenging route

Anyway, back to the present – we parked the car in Whistler and started riding on a really amazing network of trails that we barely knew had existed. Neil rode his balance bike almost all the way from Green Lake to Alta Lake (around 3km). It was so awesome that he was riding and enjoying it so much, but his progress was quite slow, especially after he got a bit tired and had to examine every rock or root we passed along the way. So when we finally arrived at Alta Lake we were more than ready for lunch and a swim.  

After a refreshing swim at Alta Lake

The water was surprisingly not so cold and even Neil agreed to swim, naked, and insisted on going all the way to the platform, where he celebrated every time someone jumped into the water. Then as we continued riding we got somewhat lost in Whistler village. Luckily Neil was sleeping then, but we were quite confused and very hot. The people in Whistler though seem to be living the life – all the cafes and bars were full of people as well as all the lake shores and many people were riding the bike trails – just another Monday!

Green Lake – Whistler’s network of paved bike trails

Finally we found ourselves at Lost Lake, but we were not lost anymore. Neil had woken up so it was time for another swim. From there we carried on back to our car by Green Lake and Neil rode his balance bike while Gili arranged the car. We had some Warmshowers cyclists staying with us that night, so we we knew we shouldn’t delay getting back home. 

Lost Lake

We planned to grab something quick to eat at Mag’s 99 in Squamish, a place that we really like and we still hadn’t eaten there this summer. However when we arrived we were told that we would have to wait at least 40 minutes to get our food because they were training the whole kitchen staff! It seemed a bit bizarre and really bad planning to train everyone at once and causing such delays. I know we originally came for the Slow Food ride, but at that point we really just wanted some good food fast.

Fish & chips at Horseshoe Bay

We had to break it to Neil that he wouldn’t get his quesadilla after all, but surprisingly he didn’t seem to mind and he got back into the car easily. We compromised by getting fish & chips by the park in Horseshoe Bay with the added bonus of Neil being able to play in the park while we were waiting for the food. Our Warmshowers guests were already waiting by our doorstep but they didn’t seem to mind and were especially happy when we told them they could have Neil’s room, while Neil slept with us for the next two nights. 

You’ve got to love the signs on the trails in Whistler

With Neil now riding more and more, we might starting going even slower, but it’s actually a good thing. We’re very lucky we have a child who actually insists on riding his own bike, and often appears to be obsessed with bikes (not sure where he got it from!). We are also lucky we have easy access to nature, lakes, and bike trails, and that Whistler and Pemberton are right in our backyard. It’s been awhile since we explored around Whistler and it was good that we did the Slow Food Ride which gave us the opportunity to finally check out all the neat bike trails. I am sure we’ll be back there before not too long.

Neil taking the lead on the Slow Ride

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